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James M. Little

LITTLE, James M., is a name familiar to all the people of Eldorado Township, where he has been engaged in farming for more than forty years, and is favorably known to a large majority of the citizens of McDonough County, Ill. He was born in Vermont, Fulton County, Ill., March 2, 1842, a son of Patrick S. and Mary A. (Riley) Little. His father was a native of Coshocton County, Ohio, and his mother of Maysville, Ky. The former died August 15, 1862.

In 1851, James M. Little came with his parents to the place where he now lives, and grew up on a farm of eighty-one and one-half acres purchased by his father. In youth he enjoyed the benefits of attendance at the common schools of the neighborhood, and afterward for one year pursued a course of study in Abingdon College. He is the fourth of seven children born to his parents and assisted his father on the farm for much of the time until the latter's death. During his early life he taught school tor thirteen winters in Eldorado Township. After his father died, he bought the interests of the other heirs of the estate, except that of his mother, who held her interest and continues to live with the subject of this sketch. Mr. Little still retains the original farm. In 1870 he moved away from the property and occupied a rented farm in the same township for one year, when he returned to the home farm.

Mr. Little was married January 18, 1863, to Elizabeth E. Royal, who was born at Cotton Hill, near Springfield, Ill., and received her early education at the public schools in the vicinity of her home, and was afterwards a pupil in the high school at Vermont, Ill. The following named children resulted from this union: Henry M., Frank P., Joseph B., Myrtle M. (Mrs. H. P. Wetingill), of Nebraska: Royal E., and Eva L., who is still a member of the home circle. Mrs. Little's parents were Joseph B. and Louisa (Downing) Royal, the father being born in Columbus, Ohio, November 1, 1816. Their marriage occurred in Vermont, Ill., August 19, 1841. They lived for a short time in Sangamon County, Ill., and spent a brief period In Iowa, but finally located in Vermont, where they both died — Mrs. Royal on January 8, 1853, and Mr. Royal in August, 1898, at the age of eighty-two years. Mr. Royal was a Christian minister, a man of fine conscience and strong character and a friend of Abraham Lincoln.

In religious belief, Mr. Little is an adherent of the Christian Church. Politically, he is a pronounced and active Republican, and has rendered most efficient and faithful public service in a number of local offices. In 1894 he was elected County Treasurer and served from that period until 1898. In 1900 he acted as government census enumerator. He was again elected Supervisor in the spring of 1901, was re-elected in 1905, and still holds that office. His incumbency in the office of School Director was unusually prolonged, lasting from his manhood until 1903. Mr. Little also served fifteen years continuously as Town Clerk, five years as Collector, and several years as Assessor. The bestowal upon him of these various public trusts is an idex of the confidence reposed in his ability and integrity by his fellow citizens. Fraternally, Mr. Little is affiliated with the K. of P.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 940-941, extracted 15 Jun 2019 by Norma Hass.

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